Group: Short Story Writing Exercises - old

Exercise: Caracter Study-Creating A Loser

In this exercise you must create a completely fictional character. This character wants something very badly. It can be anything-love, money, car, fame, to commit murder, whatever your imagination can conjure up. The caracter then starts to persue his dream, but under no circumstances can your character ever attain the thing he desires most.

This is not so much about the character's looks or personality except that he is a loser.

Deborah Boydston

4th March 2012

Character wants something can't have it, goes after it anyway

A Good Laugh?

Charlie wanted to be a comedian, but Charlie wasn’t funny. Everywhere he went he would tell dumb jokes, and do dumb routines. Anything to get a laugh, but nobody was laughing.

It got so bad nobody wanted to be around Charlie. His friends quit inviting him to their parties and refused to eat lunch with him at work. If they were on the phone and he began to tell a joke they would hang up on him. Charlie refused to get the message so everybody he knew began to totally ignore him.

Tire of being ignored and determined to show them he could succeed in the funny business, Charlie hopped the next bus to Las Vegas. Once there he went about trying to get discovered. He started doing routines on street corners. Most people thought he was just some crazy guy talking to himself, so they walked on the other side of the street to avoid him. Then he moved his act out in front of the casinos and night clubs only to be asked to move on because he was scaring off business. He found out about a few parties and crashed them, but was arrested for trespassing. He was always making up new jokes and writing new routines. Still nobody was laughing, and Charlie didn’t get it.

Finally, Charlie’s savings account ran dry and he had to get a job. The first job he got was parking valet at one of the casinos. Within a week he was fired for harassing customers. Next he worked as a waiter at a night club. After two weeks he was demoted to janitor. After another month they couldn’t take it any longer.

After several more jobs Charlie began to realize what the problem was. Not wanting to embarrass anyone he decided it was time to move on. He wrote mom asking for money then bought a bus ticket. Within the week he was on his way to Hollywood. He was just too good for Vegas, and Charlie knew that they knew it.

Deborah Boydston

4th March 2012

Ever Kenever was dumb. He knew he was dumb but was ashamed to admit it. More than anything in the world, Ever wanted to jump across the Grand Canyon on his mule. He had seen the master, Evil Knievel jump part of the canyon on a motorcycle and he truly believed that if he got his mule running fast enough down a steep slope that he could indeed jump the Grand Canyon on a mule.

He knew that if he tried to jump the Grand Canyon on a mule without practicing first, it would be a total disaster. He was dumb, but not THAT dumb. He had read about his hero, Evil Knievel enough to know that first you had to start small, jump some school buses or something.

So he rode his old mule, Heregirl, over to the county school and found a school bus parked in the parking lot next to the grandstands of the football field. He urged old Heregirl, up into the bleacher section, as high as he could go, then headed her nose down hill towards the school bus. He kicked her in the ribs and Heregirl refused to budge. He rocked in the saddle and kicked again, and again old Heregirl wouldn't budge.

Ever Kenever left old Heregirl tied to the top rail of the bleachers and walked into town to the drugstore and bought a small bottle of turpentine. Then he walked back to the school football field, climbed the steps in the bleacher section of the gandstand back to where he had left old Heregirl.

"This is your last chance, Heregirl," he told the mule. "If you don't run down there and jump that schoolbus, I'm going to sell you to the dogfood plant on the other side of town."

Ever Kenever walked behind the mule and raised its tail with one hand, took a cotton ball and soaked ii in turpentine with the other hand. Then he generously wiped the turpentine soaked cotton ball on old Heregirl's beeehind. Old Heregirl took off like a rocket. When she reached the bottom of the ramp at ground level she was doing a hunnerd and five miles an hour. She saw the school bus parked in her way and with an "EEEEEEEEHAAAAAWWWWW" that could've been heard in the next county, she jumped. Right through the drivers window of that school bus. Glass flew everywhere.

Somebody heard the noise and called the principal. The principal called the sheriff. The sheriff arrived and called the veterinarian. When the veterinarian got there, the sheriff enlisted his aid in removing Old Heregirl from the school bus. They recognized the mule by the red eye. She was still shaking and wiggling her beeehind when they pulled Heregirl out.

Then they saw old Ever Kenever up on the top row of the bleachers.

"Come on down from there, Ever," the sheriff ordered.

Ever came down as fast as he could run. The sheriff asked him what happened and Ever Kenever explained.

"Why wasn't you riding her?" The sheriff asked.

"Why I forgot to put some of that turpentine on MY behind," Ever said.

Old Ever Kenever never did jump his mule over the Grand Canyon.

Don Yarber

4th March 2012

Don you have some great humor, that was funny. Great job.

Deborah Boydston

5th March 2012

Nearly three years ago, it happened; I was only thirteen. One of the only people I trusted - with all my heart - betrayed me, taking an innocent life. He, this man, I am sad to admit, is my uncle, though, I refuse to think him apart of my family.
He'd been seemingly normal; a lovely wife; a beautiful family (two adopted daughters - Melanie and Melody - both eighteen, two younger biological daughters - Miranda, 3, Vanessa, 2 - and countless nephews and neices that adored him. But, seemingly instantly, all of it seemed to turn all horrible.
My aunt - Maria - and said uncle, grew apart. Melanie and Melody started rebelling. Our family was falling apart! I didn't even get much chance to play in our silly "band" with my older cousins, because they were always at some stupid rave, getting drunk and stoned. I missed Melanie's guitar, Melody's voice. I missed playing piano with them. I missed laughing with them. I missed Nessie (Vanessa) and Mirror (Miranda) continuously wanting to play "Hide-And-Go-Seek" with me.
But, just when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. By a large amount. Aunt Maria and Uncle Mason divorced. As if that was the worse thing that could happen! Mason changed. He became enraged - ALL THE TIME - he hated everything and everyone. I feared he'd lost his mind. Which, it turned out, he had.
I was with my older cousins, a rare occasion now, and we were babysitting the younger ones. I'd heard a noise, but had passed it off as the wind (it had been a stormy night). I should have checked, though, I might have been able to stop it. But, I didn't.
We'd just finished watching a movie, and I thoguht I ought to check on the girls. Nessie was seemingly asleep in her cot. Mirror (When Nessie first started talking, she couldn't say Miranda, and so we all started calling Miranda, Mirror), however, was standing up, her little hands holding the gate of her cot.
"Mirror." I'd said, scoldingly. "You're supposed to be asleep, missy."
"It's not fair!" She'd stamped her foot.
"What's not fair?"
"How come Daddy gave Nessie a bot, but not me?!"
I froze. The sound I'd heard.
I rushed to Nessie's cot. Her face was pale; her lips blue; her little chest was fighting to rise and fall.
The rest was a blur. I'd screamed at Melanie to call an ambulance. We'd gotten her to the hospital. We thought it would be alright.
It wasn't; Nessie had died in my arms.
And now, I wanted revenge.
But, I couldn't get it; he'd escaped.
And now, I'd dedicated my life chasing something that was always just out of my reach.
For now, anyway.


Slightly depressing :P But, it's based on a true story. I'd always wanted to tell it in a sorta short story, and now I had the chance :) Thank you !

Sammy Rose

8th March 2012

Tragic story, it must have been very scary for you. You did tell your story very well Sammy. Thank you for your submission.

Deborah Boydston

8th March 2012

The sounds of his shoes tapping on the slick pavement grew quieter as he rounded the bend. Stepping lightly and breathing slowly, Luke crept around the corner and once again found himself on the trail of the smartly-dressed man. His arms swung confidently by his side, his hair tousled by the fierce winds. Every so often he would pull his phone from the pocket of his suit trousers and dial a number. Someone was not picking up.

Luke's anxiety grew the closer he got to the man; even over the scream of the wind he could hear his heart knocking hard in his chest. This was it. The first one.
Quickening his pace, merely meters from the man in the suit, he checked behind him to ensure they were alone on the street. No pedestrians, no cars. He did not expect anyone else to be up and on the street at this hour.

The bars had closed and everyone had stumbled home, inebriated and blissfully ignorant of the state of society around them.
Luke hurried to catch the man before he could get away. Suddenly he turned and caught Luke's eye. He looked uneasy.
It's now or never, Luke heard a distant voice say.
With a burst of adrenaline, he lashed out and hit the man over the head. He fell to the floor, an expression of fear and confusion on his face.

An overwhelming sense of control and power, mixed with fear and excitement, drove Luke to do what he had waited so long to do. Murder. The ultimate control over another human being.
The man, however, was not going to make it that easy for Luke. He jumped to his feet and responded to Luke's punch with an ever harder one, jarring his jaw and sending him flying into the road.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" The stranger bellowed, straightening his suit jacket.

Struggling to speak, Luke merely swayed on the spot, cupping his jaw. He had messed up. His adrenaline dwindled and the excitement had vanished completely. He thought momentarily of lunging at the man, taking him down and driving his knife deep into his chest.
The man walked away, cursing furiously under his breath.

His only opportunity that night to assume control and live out the dark fantasies that had lurked inside his brain for so many years had evaporated before his eyes. He watched the suited man walk away, burning with morbid desire and frustration.
Next time, Luke mumbled.

Shaunna Harper

10th May 2012

“Elmer dear, how do I turn this on again?”

A sigh escaped for the third time that day, despite my valiant efforts, I could not convince my aging grandmother to forgo this desire to stay ‘hip’ and ‘new age’. She denied her ever-apparent aging, a fact I never neglected to remind her, and insisted I show her how to work her new gadgets; since everyone else in the family had one and she just had to stay in the loop.

Another sigh.

“Gram, why don’t you just stick to your old phone? The one with the big buttons, it suits you better…”

My grandmother frowned a bit at me, her wrinkles coming together along her face; a constant reminder of ages gone by. I thought she would give in, I knew it was pointless; this was all a futile attempt for her to revive herself and live like she was born in this century; she wasn’t. In no way at all do I mean offense to her, she is my grandmother and her well-thought donations to my bank account are always well-received, but she is outdated; and in a way that is part of her charm. The dear old woman who sits in her dear old chair and listens to her dear grandchildren talk of games and gizmos with a sweet, unaware smile on her dear old face.

Until my delusional older sister got her an iPhone.

I couldn’t believe it, instead of the dear old woman sitting serenely in the dear old chair; we got a prattling nuisance who couldn’t figure out why her computer kept insisting her mailbox was full. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t natural, it wasn’t happening here.
“C’mon grandma, why don’t we take out that computer and get your old record player out again? You understand how to work that thing better than anyone else anyway, it would be easier.”

“Oh Elmer, let me find your sister, she’ll straighten this out for me. Don’t worry, I’ll figure this all out and then we can send those little messages to each other when your away.”

Once again, a sigh, quickly followed by a grin; her charger, mysteriously, vanished last night and her computer was unfortunately undergoing a massive invasion of spam. I felt bad of course, torturing my poor grandmother, no one as sweet as her deserved such a thing. The preservance of her gentle nature is the just reason I undertook this quest. This ‘new age’ nonsense will ruin her; it’s in her best interest.

Hey there dearie! Just checking in on my favorite grandson! (don’t let the others know! Lol!) jk I love you all the same! Hugs and loves!

Hi agn! Didn’t get a txt bk, how r u? <3 u!

helooo? am I tlkN 2 Mself hre? yr sis z yr ph S on, w^ lil mn?! u havin fun bk @ home? txt bk, lov u!

Grams stop…your texting to fast and I don’t know what your saying…

Alicia Zetterholm

11th May 2012

@Shaunna, another great take on this exercise. Your stories are well written with excellent grammar and spelling. You are very good at creating anticipation in your work. keep up the good job.

@Alicia, your piece was very unique and true to life for a lot of seniors in our rapidly changing society. This piece was also well written and very endearing as I could fell the compassion that your main character has towards grandma. Very good. I would really love to read a response from both of you to the exercise "One setting two moods".

Deborah Boydston

12th May 2012

Thank you again! I preferred writing the other one if I'm honest, but glad you like this one as well :)

Shaunna Harper

13th May 2012

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